Well I tried!
On Saturday we’ve been invited to a 1920’s themed dinner dance, I have to confess I’m really not keen on ‘fancy dress’, I’d much rather just wear what I like, but I decided to try and make a 1920’s flapper dress.
I found a pattern on the internet from a company called Vintage Visage, they have some amazing patterns at very reasonable prices. These are reproduction patterns, so the instructions are how they were way back then! I chose the ‘Vintage 1920’s Easy Make Flapper Dress’.
It was a fascinating read…
‘A smart, up-to-the-minute dress cut out, completely made, all put together within an hour! You may receive a ‘phone call at one o’clock inviting you to a little impromptu gathering of friends at three, and you can go, if you wish, wearing a dainty new frock made in the time you would ordinarily spend wondering what to wear. Such is the delight you can find in making your own clothes now that it is easily possible to make an attractive, becoming dress in an hour’
There is one basic pattern with lots of variations, I decided to try and make this one, I thought it looked elegant for an evening do. I had some blue silk satin that someone had passed on to me which I didn’t think at first was as bright as it looked in the end!
You start by taking your measurements, just blouse length, skirt length, hip and armhole. The top is made from a single rectangle, it’s folded into four to cut the neck, measuring 1″ here and 4 1/2″ there, opened to a single fold to cut the armholes, it’s a very simple T shape. Neck edges are bound with bias.
The skirt is two rectangles 6-8″ wider each side of the top. There are no instructions to hem the skirt, the length is measured from the selvedge and that is left as the skirt edge (no wonder it only took an hour!!) The sides of the skirt are narrow hemmed, the view I’d chosen had a decorative stitch along the edges, I decided to stitch it with perle thread and a basic running stitch. This extra fabric at the side makes the waterfall effect from each hip.
The sides of the dress were stitched together as far as the lowered waist line, then the back flaps were tacked to the front, leaving the front flaps to waterfall.
At this point I decided to try it on, having just had it on Florence, my muse, before. I looked like a galleon in full sail, a bright blue sail at that!!! I tried putting a sash round the middle, but it still looked like a dogs dinner!! I decided it was unrescueable!! I’ll keep the fabric as it is in decent sized pieces if ever I try to make a dress from the rest of the length of silk (there must have been 5m there)
I couldn’t even bring myself to let my OH see it to take a photo of me wearing it, it was just too bad!! So here’s Florence…
Can I just say, this is not the fault of the pattern at all, I love the way it is written and it is actually pretty clear once you get your head round it, I just think I’m the wrong shape for a flapper dress!
Luckily whilst I was hand-stitching the edges down I had a quick browse on pinterest and saw all the long beaded dresses, I remembered a dress I bought ages ago for a cruise we went on, a long, black, beaded dress. I only wore it once, partly because it weighed a ton with all the beads. I tried it on and I think with some long black beads I can get away with it!